Deleterious Detours

Proverbs 4:26-27 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Joshua 1:7 “Only be though strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”

Ephesians 6:11-13 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

During one of my college winter breaks, I worked at a local logging and paper mill.  I had a project that took me throughout the property and into every corner of the facility.  On a chemical survey trip during my time there, I stepped out of an old industrial elevator and as soon as the doors closed behind me I realized that I couldn’t breathe.  It wasn’t that there was no atmospheric gas to fill my lungs, but that my inhale only caused me to cough and gag.  I immediately pulled my gas-mask from its holder, required gear for just such a situation, and slapped it into position.  Fortunately, it protected me from the chlorine gas that had been insidiously leaking from that portion of the mill undetected; the consequences could have been dire.  While it took a few days to overcome some mild dizziness and headaches, those symptoms were far better than the alternative without the mask.  Yet, it was clear on that day that I had made my way to the wrong place, on the wrong path, at the wrong time.

Sometimes as Christians, we find ourselves at the wrong place, on the wrong path, at the wrong time.  The errors that get us there may be insidious and undetected, though the consequences may be dire.  We may be able to slap on the protection of the armor of God at the last minute, but it would have been a whole lot easier to be at the right place, on the right path, at the right time – already armed. 

In order to do so, we need to ponder the path of our feet.  We need to let all our ways be established.  We need to be strong and very courageous.  We need to observe to do all the law.  And, we need to stay on track – turning not to the right hand nor to the left. 

PLEASE PRAY THAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WOULD STAY ON TRACK IN SERVICE TO THE LORD.  We are to maintain ourselves at the right place, on the right path, at the right time, avoiding deleterious detours.

NOTE:  My next PLUS post will not be until August 21st.  Enjoy your next few weeks, and please continue to faithfully and fervently pray for our nation and our leaders.

Performing Their Duty

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Matthew 20:26-28 “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I started this series with the following thought from Abigail Adams about the value of their sacrifice during the early days of the nation’s revolutionary journey: “This day dearest of Friends completes 13 years since we were solemnly united in wedlock; 3 years of the time we have been cruelly separated.  I have patiently as I could endured it with the Belief that you were serving your Country, and rendering your fellow creatures Essential Benefits.  May future Generations rise up and call you Blessed, and the present behave worthy of the blessings you are Labouring to secure to them, and I shall have less reason to regret the deprivation of my own particular felicity.”

Towards the end of a public life characterized by sacrificial service, Abigail wrote the following: “With respect to what is past, all was intended for the best, and you have the Satisfaction of knowing that you have faithfully served your generation, that you have done it at the expense of all private Considerations and you do not know whether you would have been a happier Man in private, than you have been in publick Life.  The exigencies of the times were such as call’d you forth.  You considered yourself as performing your duty.  With these considerations, I think you have not any cause for regret.  What remains to us of Life, we must expect to have checkered with good and evil, and let us patiently endure the one and rejoice in the other as becomes those who have a better hope and brighter prospects beyond the Grave.”

Praise God for those throughout our nation’s history and still today who sacrifice themselves for the well-being of our communities and our country!  Praise God for those who selflessly serve others, and who pour their lives into the betterment of society! 

They should labor with satisfaction that they have faithfully served their generation.  While they have done so at the expense of private considerations, they should be warmed with a sense of joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction.  We need such men and women who are called forth to perform their duty in such a way during the exigencies of our times.  May they have no cause for regret, and may they ultimately be motivated by the better hope and brighter prospects that lie beyond the grave.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE FULLY INVESTED THEIR LIVES IN SERVICE TO OTHERS, AND MAY MANY MORE JOIN THEM IN DOING SO.  As I close this series on John and Abigail Adams, may we all recognize the powerful example they provided throughout their sacrificial journey together.  Praise God that they faithfully performed their duty, and so must we!

Neither Storms Nor Tempests Will Overthrow It

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Ephesians 6:13-14 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness”

Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abigail Adams delivered the following thoughts to her husband:

“May the foundation of our new constitution be Justice, Truth, and Righteousness.  Like the wise man’s house, may it be founded upon those Rocks and then neither storms nor tempests will overthrow it.”

Abigail knew that the new nation would face storms and tempests.  After all, proverbial rains, floods and winds are a natural part of our lives.  Our ability to resiliently endure these expected challenges is completely based upon the stability of the foundation to which we are affixed. 

This Founding Mother makes an important point, not only in her clear Biblical reference to Christ, but in her understanding of the needed ultimate foundation for our nation.  She doesn’t say that our founding documents are our foundation.  Instead, she says that the principles of our nation that are embodied in those founding documents need to be affixed to something more steady, sure and supernatural.

The most effective way to permanently undermine a structure and to overthrow a system is to erode its foundation.  Those who would cause us to question the fundamental tenants of Justice, Truth, and Righteousness and to doubt their ultimate supernatural source are actively engaged in America today.  These malign forces would have us to affix our nation on shifting sands instead of steady structures.  If they succeed, their folly will cause us all to fall and to fail. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR NATION TO FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE WISE MAN.  If we do, then modern day America will be able to withstand the rains, the floods, and the winds that swirl around us, and neither storms nor tempests will overthrow it.

For similar thoughts please see the following previous PLUS posts:

Posterity Will Triumph

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

I Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

Upon the nation’s bold declaration of independence, John Adams wisely understood the following:

“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not.  I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these states.  Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory.  I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means.  And that Posterity will triumph in that Day’s Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Adams signed the Declaration of Independence with open-eyes; he was well aware of the reputational and practical costs associated with support and defense of his homeland and its revolutionary cause.  Yet, through all the gloom, he saw rays of ravishing light and glory.  The ends of independence were well worth the means of short-term hardship, and future generations would profit from their present challenges.  As stewards of their cause, they must be found faithful.  After all, their service would bring forth fruit in its season and their posterity would triumph from their transactions. 

As Christians in America today, we must enter the cultural fray with open-eyes; we must be well aware of the reputational and practical costs associated with our Christ-centered stand.  Yet, through all the gloom, we must see rays of ravishing light and glory.  The ends are well worth the means of short-term hardship, and future generations will profit from our present challenges.  As stewards of the cause of Christ, we must be found faithful in our prayerfulness, in our passion for righteousness, and in our selfless service.  After all, our service will bring forth fruit in its season and our posterity will triumph from our transactions. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS IN THE MIDST OF THE CULTURAL CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE TODAY.  Through all the gloom, we must keep focused on the rays of ravishing light and glory.  Posterity will triumph from our transactions today.

The Most Memorable Epocha

Joshua 4:1-3, 6-7 “And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night…That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?  Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over the Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”

Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

John Adams immediately understood the importance of our nation’s declaration of independence, both the act and the document itself.  It was on July 2, 1776 that the Continental Congress approved the following resolution: “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”  The public declaration of these sentiments occurred two days later, memorialized in our Declaration of Independence.

John Adams wrote to Abigail describing his thoughts about that day:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.  It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Though our nation has settled on the 4th of July as our official day of independence, it is right to give God thanks and praise for our nation on this day and every day as we remember this most memorable Epocha in the history of America.  It is proper and appropriate to take a day to celebrate our great anniversary Festival.  It should be commemorated by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade from one end of our continent to the other.  It must be commemorated as a day of deliverance while being diligently taught to our children.

AMERICAN CHRISTIAN, PLEASE PRAISE GOD FOR HIS IMPACT ON THE FOUNDING OF OUR NATION AND PRAY FOR HIS CONTINUED GUIDANCE AND PRESENCE IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY.  On the upcoming Independence Day weekend, it is right and proper to remember this most memorable Epocha in the history of America.

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